Narrator: Jonathan Cecil
Length: 6 hrs 57 mins
Publisher: Audible Studios
Release date: July 2005
‘Joy in the Morning’, read by Jonathan Cecil, will always hold a special place in my heart because it was the first Jeeves and Wooster book I ever listened to. I’d heard of the stories before – who hadn’t! I’d also seen an episode or 2 of the Fry and Lorry TV dramatisation, but I hadn’t really got them. It wasn’t until I listened to the goings on at Steeple Bumpleigh that I really understood what an absolute comedy gem I’d discovered. Consequently, as I prepared to revisit the tale of Stilton Cheesewright, Florence Craye, Boko Fittleworth, and Nobby Hopwood, I was apprehensive. Recalling my hilarious laughter at the time, I just hoped it wouldn’t be like revisiting a favourite childhood haunt to find someone had chopped down the trees, filled in the lake, and built a McDonalds drive-through on the spot where you had your first kiss.
The story is a typical Wodehouse farce containing star-crossed lovers, fancy-dressed balls, ferocious elderly relatives, and a mess that only Jeeves can sort out. It also contains young Edwin, son of Lord Worplesdon and brother of Florence Craye. He is the best developed kid of all the young reprobates who appear in the books and the fact that he is the cause of many of the funniest moments works really well. Having half forgotten the story, I’m happy to say that its many laugh-out-loud moments absolutely hit the spot.
My only disappointment was that I found the ending much less satisfying than I remember. This might be down to the fact that these days I am much closer to Lord Worplesdon in age than I am to Bertie and co, or maybe my expectations are different, having read lots of other Wodehouse stories in the intervening years. Whatever the reason, putting one over on his Lordship in the way Jeeves did felt like it wasn’t quite the thing. I know this happens in other stories, but he wasn’t anywhere near as bad as those characters who deserve to get their comeuppance such as Sir Watkin Bassett or Roderick Spode.
In conclusion, I’m happy to say that, though I didn’t perhaps laugh as hard as my teenage self all those years ago, “Joy in the Morning’ remains my favourite Wodehouse book so far. Maybe this is down to sentiment, but that’s how it goes sometimes.
My advice is that if you have the slightest interest in Jeeves and Wooster then you should listen to this book at your earliest opportunity. What’s more, if you don’t laugh at least twice then I’d have yourself checked out at the doctors because there’s obviously something wrong with you.